Thomas Lynn is a proud father of three young sons, and can be found exploring the region looking for that next ‘special adventure’. Using his blog and twitter feed to share his stories, as well as topics that are affecting his boys, Thomas is currently building his ‘daddy blogger’ reputation.
Like many parents, my wife and I are always looking for something to entertain the kids during weekends. But with three boys under five years of age, the options can be fairly limiting, if not too expensive.
Luckily, the National Capital Region welcomed Winterlude last weekend: the annual celebration of Canadian winter! We were excited for the opening weekend and took the boys out to enjoy two of the main family activities the annual festival offers.
Our first stop was an evening visit to Confederation Park and the Rideau Canal. It had a fantastic atmosphere that started the second we walked into the park. We entered at the gate on the corner of Laurier and Elgin, and it was like entering a different world.
There were smells of campfire and BeaverTails lofting through the air, music playing, children yelling and looking at the ice sculptures (parents yelling at the children to not touch the ice sculptures) and wonderful displays of talent everywhere we turned.
When we first walked into the park, on the right hand side was a breathtaking carving with Koi fish on it. We continued along the paths, stopping for photos and to ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaah’ at the precision the sculptors were demonstrating while working with chainsaws to sculpt their designs.
The next stop was the canal. This was the first time the boys skated on it this year, and they weren’t entirely sure what to make of it until we arrived. But after seeing all the people, I couldn’t get their skates on fast enough. It was like my five-year-old was possessed. He was swinging his arms and skating like a mad man! Unfortunately our three year old is more of a tippy toe skater and his speed was lacking in his brothers’ eyes – so of course that meant I skated and carried him at the same time.
We all made it down to the first corner, just past the University of Ottawa, but decided to turn back to ensure sufficient time to consume our required dose of BeaverTails. After a great time, a hot chocolate spill and a freak out in response to the hot chocolate spill, it was time to go home.
Our next Winterlude stop was to Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Parc on the Gatineau side. If you have never taken your children, or even gone for a fun date, GO… NOW! This place is beautiful. With downtown Ottawa as the backdrop, the organizing team has put together a setting that is screaming Canadian fun. From giant snow sculptures, to horse drawn sleigh rides, to the giant snow mountain that is home to countless ice slides… there is plenty to keep you and your loved ones laughing and smiling for an entire afternoon or evening.
The highlight for the boys (and me) had to be the ice slides. The kids were a little nervous but built up the courage (“I’ll get you both a treat later”) and we went off to the little slides first.
“Can we do that daddy?”
“Yes. We. Can.”
So off we went. Even though the line was all the way out the back, it moved very fast. The slides look huge from the bottom, but because of their design, there is nearly no way to get hurt. Five-year-old went screaming down the hill in burst of speed and then my three-year-old and I went tearing after him. It was great.
The overall theme of Winterlude? Fun. The beautiful scenery and fantastic job done by the organizing team has created an atmosphere that is truly amazing. Take the kids, take some friends, go alone…whatever you do, go. It’s a free event (minimal charge for some things… like BeaverTails) and an amazing family adventure.
Who knows, maybe we will go back there this weekend too!
Taking your family to Winterlude? Tell us about your favourite parts!